Improving Materials Master Data Management

Material Master in SAP is the most important master data object in SAP ERP as it is central to many mission-critical business processes in sales, manufacturing, purchasing, sales and operations planning, production planning, logistics, customer service and maintenance.



An Example AS-IS process for Master Data Process for a Finished Good

Creating, updating, and obsoleting Material Master Data is considered a mission critical activity as it has a direct impact on time-to-market and many operational excellence processes. Unfortunately, we find Material Master Data Management to be one of the most time consuming and expensive process. Below highlights the activities involved in creating master data for a finished good material at one our customers and related cycle time and process costs.



Evaluation of the cycle time indicates that majority of it is waiting time, although actual data entry/preparation, validation, governance, error checking, and review tasks can be fairly time consuming. Part of the reason for long cycle times is the sheer amount of master data and functional teams involved in creating master data for finished good materials. In addition, many of the activities highlighted above could only be performed by experienced master data stewards because of the need for high-level SAP expertise. An example of one such process is shown below.


Digital Workflow Based Master Data Management

The solution to reducing the cycle time and process cost was to design digital workflow(s) to speed up coordination between cross-functional teams, eliminate waiting times and automate much of the data creation/update, validation, and application of governance rules.



Over a large number of New Materials Management related processes, these type of savings can add up to tens of thousands to millions of dollars. More importantly, process improvement here has a direct and positive impact on processes that drive New Product Introduction (NPI and Go-to-market), Supply Chain and Operation Excellence.